59. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Secretary of State Rusk in Brussels and the Embassy in France1
2421. Tosec 100. NATUS. French Ambassador Lucet met at his request with Acting Secretary at 3:15 p.m. June 6. Minister Leprette, Springsteen and Anderson (WE) also present. Lucet called under instructions to deliver oral response to series of questions raised with him by Secretary on May 27 concerning the five US-French bilateral agreements covering US military facilities in France.2
- Lucet noted Secretary’s desire avoid further written memoranda during current efforts to get discussions underway, and stated that GOF was fully agreed in desirability of continuing oral exchange at this stage.
With regard to arrangements for the termination of the five US-GOF bilateral agreements, Lucet said that his Government did not [Page 120] consider that it had “denounced” these agreements, and that the best way to solve the current juridical impasse was to have concrete US-French discussions with both sides eventually agreeing that “the agreements have lost their validity by mutual consent.” The GOF, he said, could not agree to the US proposal of April 123 to amend the duration provision of four of the agreements to bring them into line with the duration provisions of the System of Communications Agreement. The two-year provision of the last agreement is “too long” as it is in conflict, he said, with the April 1, 1967 deadline.
Acting Secretary said (1) that we cannot accept a unilateral repudiation of agreements to which we are a party, (2) that we had proposed one possible method of reaching mutual agreement on termination (two-year provision), (3) that we are not adopting a doctrinaire, dogmatic position on the conditions for terminating these agreements, and (4) that the U.S. is prepared to discuss the possibility of terminating the five agreements in question by mutual consent. However, in order to have a very clear understanding of the current French suggestion Ball, referring to the earlier GOF decision that the five agreements must terminate by April 1, 1967, asked: “May I take it then that this latest French suggestion is not a decision as it has appeared to us to be, but is now a proposal for terminating the agreements through mutual consent?” Lucet replied affirmatively. Continuing, Ball emphasized that we were prepared to try to arrive at a solution through mutual consent, but that we could not accept a solution by fiat. Lucet concurred.
Regarding the US Military Headquarters Agreement (1953), the Air Bases Agreement (1952), and the System of Communications Agreement (1958), Lucet stated that the GOF did not expect any particular negotiating problems with the US. Discussions on these three agreements would concern primarily the practical measures to be taken for the removal of US personnel and facilities between now and April 1, 1967.
Acting Secretary said that the USG was prepared to consider this proposal for the April 1, 1967, date in order to see if we could mutually agree on it.
- Regarding the Chateauroux Depot Agreement (1951), Lucet said the GOF recognized that the problems involved in this agreement were more complex than those related to the three just mentioned, and was therefore fully prepared to discuss any US requirements for “further delays.” Ball said it would be useful to discuss a practical termination date.
- Concerning the Pipeline Agreement, Lucet said: “As for the Pipeline Agreement of June 30, 1953, it is a question of defining the [Page 121] new conditions under which it could continue to operate, once the American personnel have been evacuated between now and April 1, 1967.” In commenting on this part of his instructions, Lucet said that there is no GOF intention to cut the pipeline now or after April 1, 1967, and that his Government welcomed discussions with the US on its future use. He mentioned continued use of it to supply US troops in Germany. Acting Secretary said that the US will be prepared to have discussions on this matter.
- Concerning 1952 Air Bases Agreement, Lucet said that Secretary Rusk had mentioned our desire to move aircraft and material out of France and asked that GOF designate an individual with whom we could discuss this matter. He stated that if the US would name an official to carry on such discussions, the GOF would do likewise. Ball agreed to provide such a name.
- In response to Secretary’s question concerning the facilities, mentioned in French aide-mémoire of March 29, “on which the two Governments could reach mutual agreement in the event of a conflict in which both countries would participate under the Atlantic Alliance,” Lucet said that these were logistical facilities that the USG may need in case of war, such as ports, transport facilities, stockage and air bases—i.e., “the same type that is now available to US in peacetime.” The GOF, he said, is ready to discuss and to conclude an agreement on the use of these facilities in wartime.
- Lucet continued: “As a counterpart, we French would like to discuss the question of putting tactical nuclear weapons at the disposal of French forces in wartime under the conditions which have existed up to now.” Ball replied that the terms and conditions under which French forces would remain in Germany would first have to be determined. Depending on the achievement of a satisfactory agreement regarding those terms and conditions, the United States would then be prepared to discuss this subject with the GOF. Lucet interjected that his instructions were not limited to the provision of nuclear warheads for French forces in Germany. Ball replied that the French Government had never permitted United States nuclear warheads on French soil. Lucet seemed confused at this point and indicated that he would seek clarification of his instructions.
- Lucet hoped that US-French discussions on the foregoing questions could be undertaken as soon as possible.4
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 4 FR-US. Secret; Immediate; Limdis. Drafted by Anderson, cleared by Springsteen, and approved by Ball. Repeated to all other NATO capitals. Rusk was in Brussels for the North Atlantic Council Ministerial meeting June 3-8.↩
- See Document 58.↩
- For text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1966, pp. 328-330.↩
- Telegram 3766, July 8, transmitted instructions for negotiations on U.S.-French bilateral agreements. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 4 FR-US)↩